by: wedelmaster - 14th February 2007

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 3Family Friendly
  • 3Aprés Ski
  • Terrain Park
  • Overall Value

Full review

At Castle, the wind is your friend....most of the time. On most days it blows consistently right up over the back of the mountain, blanketing much of the front face with fantastic wind-sifted powder. Other times, it just howls and the ride up the upper chair can be pretty interesting as the wind rips down the mountain. The upper lift has closed a few times in the PM when the wind has picked up when I've been there. Castle is a fairly big mountain (1600 acres) with good vertical (2833 feet) and some of the best chutes anywhere. This year they have a new chair up Haig Ridge which offers more green and blue terrain but haven't skiied it yet. The lower mountain runs are mainly cruisers, with a few good steep tree runs. Centre is a pretty sweet first-run burner. If the pper chair is closed, traverse far skiers right past The BUrn to Trapper and Being There for good snow and steeps. The upper mountain has bowls, trees and steep chutes, all acessed from two cat tracks that basically go left and right from the top of the chair. On most days with the consistent wind, the upper mountain is filled in with wind-loaded snow, and on storm days Castle is the kind of plae where your tracks disappear after each lap. Figure out the wind patterns and you'll find the best stashes...I've had good luck with the bowl area of Sherriff/Outlaw, Tamarack Bowl and the treed areas over by North Bowl and Northern Exposure. Over towards Th e Chutes area, Drifter and High Plains can be awesome, as are all the Chutes...just watch for bony windswept sections on ridgelines. Lots of cool, sparse treed terrain from forest fires. A very laid-back mountain, with slow fixed grip lifts and minimal crowds (except weekends after a storm cycle when all of Calgary seems to be there sometimes). The base area T-Bar is a great spot for end of day beers and the new hostel at the base offers some great ski and stay deals. There are also some good larger houses to rent at the base if you have a group, some nice B&B's nearby (Aspen Grove is good...v. friendly) or else Pincher Creek for motel/hotel options.
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